For our TT&: Green Mommy Maker on the Move series, Tidy Thyme meets up for an interview with some of our favorite maker-moms that do amazing things. These are really "Mommies On The Move" - with a mission. We love them, we love their stuff, and we hope you are inspired by their stories.
This installment we’re featuring Virginia Fretto, the founder of Razimus Jewelry. She talks about green parenting, the balance of being a business owner and parent, and her awesome company. Meet Virginia:
Virginia working on this season's new line!
Tidy Thyme: What is Razimus Jewelry?
Virginia Fretto: Razimus Jewelry is a fabric jewelry company, which I started because of my passion for social responsibility, everything from eco-friendliness, dealing with the vendors and materials we source, to responsible philanthropy. We use fabrics that would otherwise be discarded, or fabrics harvested in an organic way. The fashion industry has so much waste – so many toxic dyes and pesticides, especially pesticides in cotton production. It’s kind of amazing how much is used.
Deconstructed vintage skirt up-cycled into the "Ella" bracelet: http://www.razimusjewelry.com/shop/-ella-vintage-buffalo-plaid
TT: What’s been the most challenging part of being a parent and a business owner?
VF: Staying focused, and having to work with a shorter time frame most days, because Mommy comes first. Really, it’s getting into the groove of time management. I have to take care of things with my daughter, and find programs where she can be fulfilled while I’m working. I do have some flexibility as I’m working on my own business, but you still have to work to make time for yourself.
TT: How do you maintain balance?
VF: I don’t know that there ever is balance, exactly, but as long as you’re doing something that means something for you, and you’re not just doing all business or all mommy all the time, it makes you feel a little more balanced yourself – and you can make better decisions. So whether it’s a couple moments of meditation, or a tea you really like, you take that moment to enjoy it. Those are the little things that really help me to stay focused – especially on the crazy days of juggling.
Virginia, Olivia and our "Sweet Dreams" aromatherapy soy candle http://www.tidythyme.com/collections/non-gmo-soy-candles/products/sweet-dreams-soy-candle
TT: How has your perspective on green living changed since you had a child?
VF: I was always very aware of recycling and trying to buy products that were eco-friendly. Then once I had her I did a lot of research and learned about a lot of greenwashing, and things that are sort of hidden in all these products – especially the cleaning products and products that go on your skin like lotions and soaps. I feel like it was a complete reeducation period for me.
I really sought out ingredients that were totally plant-based, with essential oils, no artificial fragrance (TT: hey, we know some of those!). Not purchasing anything I couldn’t pronounce was a big part of it, after becoming aware of all these toxins. You hear about all these difficult diagnoses of people, kids being diagnosed with adult diseases, there’s something environmental causing this. So the less toxic we keep our home environment, the better, and that became really important to me – especially with a newborn. As she grew, too, I came to learn and absorb more information about being a smart consumer and knowing your ingredients, knowing what you’re putting on your body and in your home.
TT: What is one thing you’d like to share with parents who are new to green living?
VF: Don’t go crazy and try to change everything at once. You’ll feel overwhelmed and you’ll spend a lot of money. You want to try things first and ease them in – important things are skincare, cleaning and food. So if you can add more organic, and more natural ingredients with things you can read the labels on, the more the better. If there’s even a question, just don’t buy it. If I can’t read it, it’s probably not something I should be ingesting, putting on my skin or using in my home.
Just be a sponge, keep learning more things – there are great resources out there, websites with complete listings of safe products. Really trust your gut, too, there could be something that’s perfectly safe and natural that your child or family is sensitive to, so that might not work for you. Then you try other things – but don’t try to do it all at once. Just pick one area and then expand from there.
Virginia and Olivia Cleaning with Tidy Thyme's "Mommy On The Move!" http://www.tidythyme.com/collections/mommy-and-baby/products/mommy-on-the-move-1
TT: What have you discovered about yourself since taking on these dual roles?
VF: I have learned a lot since becoming a mommy-business owner. I’ve learned it is a struggle for me to organize - I don’t know if that’s because I’m a creative, or if it’s because I’m being pulled in two different directions, but the big thing is focusing. This year, I’m focusing on becoming more organized and getting more systems in place, because I really want to grow my business, and I want my daughter to feel like I’m there and present when we are spending time together. There will always be distractions and having the organization and systems in place helps.
Then, also, I’ve learned to not try to do it all myself. Asking for help, working with other artists, collaboration, you learn so much from other people through networking, getting out there, and involving others in some different aspects of the business. I’ve learned a lot just by connecting with people.
TT: What impact do you hope to make and changes would you like to see in the fashion industry?
VF: I want people to choose eco-friendly fashion, sustainable fashion. To respect a handmade product, knowing that it’s made using organic cotton or that we’ve taken what would’ve been discarded clothing and reducing waste, and turning it into something beautiful and wearable, a little treasure.
I want to bring awareness to people’s purchasing decisions and to help reduce waste – I think you can build a business without being completely wasteful, respecting our environment, and respecting artists and communities.
Thanks for being so rad, Virginia! We’re so grateful for her thoughts on balancing life as a green maker and green mommy. Check out the Razimus Jewelry shop here, and stay tuned for the next installment of TT&: Green Mommy Maker on the Move. Until then, head on over to our shop to find some of those great plant based, essential oil based, safe and natural home products she was referring to...
Thanks for reading, greenies! We'll talk to you soon.
The Tidy Thyme Crew